If one car manufacturer can offer a full range of standard features at a similar price point, Mic van Zyl asks why can’t they all?
The popularity of double cab bakkies is at an alltime high. The choice of which one to spend your hard-earned cash on has become rather difficult. I have found this to be true when discussing this topic with a number of people. There is a high level of brand loyalty from current bakkie owners. This is cemented by the fact that these vehicles seem to just get better and better with every new generation. There is, however, a large segment of prospective firsttime double cab buyers coming
ABS, vehicle stability and traction control systems, and airbags should feature on the very top of the standardfeature list for any vehicle.
from brands which do not offer this type of vehicle in their ranges. Brand loyalty doesn’t feature in their decision-making process. The current crop of top double cab bakkies include models from Toyota, Ford, Mazda, VW, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Nissan. All are great multipurpose lifestyle vehicles. While they are all capable off-road, the degree of capability does vary from one model to the next. When it comes to the ability to accessorise these bakkies and better prepare them for serious overlanding or very rough terrain, the gaps become even wider. There has also been a subtle shift in focus from some of the above-mentioned bakkies. Some have become more orientated to an upmarket multi-purpose lifestyle role while others have more of a tough workhorse-feel about them. In between are some that do a pretty good job all round. What is rather perplexing is the vast difference in the levels of standard equipment between the top models from the above manufacturers, especially in vehicles around the R600 000 mark. Personal preference for niceties and must-haves vary from one person to the next, but there are arguably some items which are essential from a safety point of view. Nice-to-haves include keyless entry, push button start, heated seats, mood lighting, refrigerated gloveboxes, sunroofs, folding wing mirrors, load bay lighting, sliding rear windows, cup holders, rear passenger air vents, and illuminated vanity mirrors. One however simply cannot place a price on active and passive safety equipment in your vehicle. ABS, vehicle stability and traction control systems, and airbags should feature on the very top of the standard feature list for any vehicle. I find it inexcusable that the Amarok does not offer rear side airbags in their vehicles, never mind the top spec models. The Amarok does, however, have one of the best off-road braking systems on offer. The Ford Ranger Wildtrack offers adaptive cruise control as well as lane keep assist, which are great features to help you stay safe. Reverse camera and park distance control both front and rear are in my opinion essential for negotiating the urban jungle, especially in parking lots where the bays were clearly not designed for a double cab bakkie. Parking areas are shared with pedestrians, especially small ones which are hard to spot out of a double cab when reversing. Driving position is not merely a function of comfort. When negotiating seriously challenging terrain, the wrong driving position could lead to momentary loss of control over steering and pedals. Trying to adjust an incorrect driving position manually while on the move is wrong but I too have found myself doing this when the going gets rough. Electric seat adjustment is exact and you do not have to move the seat with your body weight. It is therefore unfortunate that I find myself venturing away from my favourite, market-leading brand when considering my own upcoming double cab 4x4 auto purchase. My favourite is just too thin with standard features. If one of the fierce competitors can offer a full range of standard features at a similar price point, why can’t they all?